Have you ever heard of graupel?

Have you ever heard of graupel? It's a special kind of snow.

It’s hard to believe that after living through a total of 35 snowy winters, being a journalist and avid crossworder, that I had never heard or read the word “graupel” before yesterday. But yesterday I happened to see the word in a local weather blog.

Always game to learn a new word, I looked it up. Originating from the German language, the word refers to little barley-like grains caused by frozen droplets of water collecting around snowflakes as they fall. It’s a type of cold-weather precipitation that can also go by the names of soft hail or snow pellets.

But hey, those just aren’t as fun to say as graupel, are they?

After enjoying the thrill of learning this new word, I went about my day, working on the computer and visiting with the relatives I was staying with in Herkimer while snow fell all day long.

The next morning dawned bright blue and sunny but cold and crisp. I took the dog out for a walk.

And then I saw it!

You know how you learn a new word and then you see it in everything you read? Well, this time I saw “graupel” in real life! It was all over the park, the sidewalk, the wreaths on the porches. Tiny snowballs made by faeries scattered over the new-fallen snow, catching the sunlight and sparkling like the crown jewels of the little people.

So what do I draw from all this? Learning something new is the most delightful thing in life! And don’t judge anyone for not knowing what a word means. There are lots of words – plenty to keep us all surprised our whole lives long. 

What new words have you learned lately? Leave me a comment.



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